Berkeley (England) 1956-1960
Charles Panter had a factory
which repaired demolished parts of airplanes in the Second World
War. After the war, he switched over to the production of caravans.
In a few years, Panter was
the biggest caravan builder of Great-Britain. He earned so much,
that he wanted to start building small cars. He found a partner
in Laurie Bond, who already built small cars for a long time.
The make Berkeley was born.
In 1956, three prototypes,
who were shown at the London exposition the same year, were developed
in Biggleswade. The synthetic bodies were divided in three parts:
the floor, the front and the back. The parts were glued together.
The engines were delivered by a company that built motorcycles.
The front wheels were driven by chains. Berkeley has assembled
two- and three cylinder engines till 1959, but the engines were
the weakest part of the cars.
In 1959, the factory built
a three-wheeler with one back wheel à la Morgan, and with
little more success. When Panter switched over to the Ford Anglia
engine in 1960, it was already too late. There were only sold
two cars with such an engine.
Then, the factory closed its